The Cincinnati Bengals have had a near-idyllic start to their 2021 season. In the first four games, they have a 3-1 overall record, including an overtime victory in their home opener, a decisive win in Pittsburgh against the Steelers and a big showing on primetime television.
They have a big test this week against the Green Bay Packers—another 3-1 team. To help us break down that contest and gauge where the Bengals are at right now, we had Mike Petraglia of CLNS Media and “The Jungle Roar Podcast” join us.
It was an enlightening chat from one of the best to cover the Cincinnati Bengals. Inevitably, the topic of Joe Burrow and his leadership of the team came to surface. Tom Brady’s name came to the forefront of that conversation—not only because of the pre-draft hype, but also because Petraglia spent considerable time covering the Patriots’ star quarterback while previously on the New England beat.
Whether it’s with on-field accuracy and leadership, or by his handling of the media, Burrow is starting to show similar traits as No. 12. We’re all seeing it, including “Trags”:
“Measuring what he says very carefully...if you watch a Joe Burrow press conference, there is a lot of early Tom Brady,” Petraglia noted to us after spending time covering both star signal-callers. “He smiles a lot, he’s comfortable in front of a microphone, but he’s not going to tell you a lot—he’s starting to learn the art of ‘talking but saying nothing’, that is something Tom Brady mastered over the years.”
Whether you want to argue if Brady learned that skill from Bill Belichick or not is another conversation, but it’s something Brady uses to this day in Tampa. But, talk is only talk, if you can’t walk the walk, and, in his return from last year’s injury, Burrow is showing that G.O.A.T. swagger.
“On the field, the way he reads a defense—he can read it pre-snap, he can dictate the terms of what he’s seeing and he welcomes that pressure, he welcomes that ‘zero blitz’ you saw in the fourth quarter against Jacksonville,” Petraglia continued. “Why? Because he knew what he had on the outside. And, Joe Burrow wasn’t afraid to throw to a tight end instead of a receiver, as the play is usually drawn up in practice.”
Petraglia then referenced one of Brady’s early Super Bowl wins and his mindset in that game, while talking about Burrow and his approach last Thursday night.
“That ability to adjust on-the-fly is something Tom Brady mastered to a tee in New England. He’s not afraid of the big situation...even though it was Jacksonville and the fourth week of the season and not the Super Bowl, he wasn’t afraid of that big moment, not afraid of killing that last five-and-a-half minutes of that game on Thursday night. He did it perfectly, like Brady did throughout his career and those are just some of the characteristics I see why I can understand why some people see some of Tom Brady in a young Joe Burrow.”
Huge praise for Burrow, and again, coming from someone who had covered New England sports for the previous 28 years before heading back to his home area of Cincinnati. So, Petraglia got to know Brady and Belichick well in that time. Obviously, Burrow has a long way to go to get close to all of the accolades “The G.O.A.T” has accrued, but the performance is starting to match some of the seemingly-hyperbolic pre-draft hype.
Also in our conversation with Mike Petraglia:
- What is the plan going forward with Darius Phillips on special teams?
- At 3-1, are the Bengals contenders or pretenders right now? Obviously, this Sunday is a huge measuring stick, but how does he feel about the quality of wins by Cincinnati thus far?
- What has been the biggest difference in this year’s Bengals team and what has gone into their ability to quash longtime Bengals’ fans (and players’) mindsets of “Hear we go again” when in-game trouble hits?
- What are the keys to a possible Bengals victory against Green Bay and who are the most important players?
Continuing the week of special guests, we also had SimBull CEO, Kenneth Giles, on the program. He not only shared his thoughts on the upcoming clash between the Bengals and Packers, but also a great promotion for Cincy Jungle readers and OBI listeners. If you haven’t gotten in on SimBull’s product yet, you have to check it out—particularly if you are already playing fantasy football, survivor football and the like.
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Oh, and Giles also provided some great perspective from the Green Bay side of the fence. He’s a little worried about the team’s direction and quarterback situation past the 2021 season, but believes this team has a deep playoff run in them this year and should take care of the Bengals this Sunday. We’ll see.
Our thanks to both Mr. Petraglia (go follow him @Trags and his podcast @JungleRoarPod) and Mr. Giles (go follow SimBull on Twitter) for their appearances, and to those of you who joined for the live recording! If you missed it, you can download it on your favorite audio platform!
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